As the year comes to a close and a New Year begins, will you be making any New Year’s resolutions? Many of us use this as a time to reflect and decide to make changes to improve our lives. In fact, surveys have found some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions include “live life to the fullest,” “live a healthier lifestyle” and “lose weight.” (more…)
The Great American Smoke Out is this week. The American Cancer Society leads this yearly event on the third Thursday of each November to encourage smokers across the country to make a plan to quit or to plan in advance to quit smoking on this day. Over 480,000 Americans die from tobacco-related illnesses each year. Research also shows that smokers cost their employers close to $6,000 per year more than non-smokers.
With this in mind, it behooves employers to help their employees quit smoking. Here are three Quality of Lifehacks to help. (more…)
Sodexo North America
After the doldrums of winter, spring is a time for change and renewal. That’s why it’s this time of year when many of us think about spring cleaning — getting rid of the old to make way for the new. In the office, spring cleaning can mean clearing off your desk so you can be more organized, or it could mean wrapping up those lingering projects so you can devote your attention to creating new ones. It’s a great time for leaders to help employees refresh their workspaces and re-engage with their work. It could make both you and your employees happier, healthier and more productive.
February is American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle by making small changes and incorporating more heart-healthy behaviors that can lead to better heart health. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in America. It’s a chronic disease that many are genetically predisposed to have, but there is a lot you can do — and help your employees do — to delay or prevent it.
In fact, discussions about cardiovascular health belong in the workplace as much as they belong in the doctor’s office. Researchers suspect there are links between stress — often work-related stress — and heart disease. Stress can not only raise blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease, but it can also lead to other unhealthy behaviors, like inactivity, high cholesterol or smoking.
Here are a few ways you can encourage employees to reduce stress and stay heart-healthy.
Let’s start with the basics: Eating well and exercising are two of the best things you can do to keep your heart healthy. (After all, it’s called “cardio” for a reason.)
Getting your heart-rate up tends to release endorphins and reduce stress. New research shows that those who are fitter are more likely to survive if they do have a heart attack, and the same study suggests that fitter people are less likely to have heart attacks in the first place. Exercise and good nutrition also help protect against obesity, which leads to high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) a risk factor for heart problems or stroke.
Many workplaces have fitness programs or on-site gyms to make it easier for employees to get exercise — some even reward them with perks for using them. Even if you don’t have access to these amenities, offices can offer standing desks, encourage employees to go for walks during the day, or even have active meetings to get employees moving.
A 2011 study linked poor sleep to a type of inflammation that’s a sign of heart disease. Those with sleep apnea also increase their risk of high blood pressure, which can cause heart attack and stroke. And not getting enough sleep has been linked to weight gain, another risk factor for heart disease.
As an employer, one thing you can do to help your employees get more rest is build flexibility into their schedules. We’ve written in the past about how employees who telecommute or have a flexible schedule get better sleep. It’s not just healthier; it makes them more productive at work, too.
Food & Chocolate
The American Heart Association recommends eating an overall healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes:
- a variety of fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- low-fat dairy products
- skinless poultry and fish
- nuts and legumes
- non-tropical vegetable oils
Chocolate – You don’t want to overdo this one (cardiovascular disease is also linked to obesity after all), but a small amount of chocolate may help your heart. Some studies have found that the flavanols, the chemical compounds found in cocoa beans, can reduce blood pressure.
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which are actually seeds from the fruit of the cacao tree. Chocolate’s health benefits come from flavanols, antioxidants found in the cocoa bean. Other foods rich in flavanols include red wine, tea, onions, peanuts, berries, apples, and cranberries.
Dark chocolate may provide health benefits, but even small amounts still add calories, fat, and sugar to your diet. Choose at least 70% dark chocolate and eat only about 1oz/day.
How are you planning to promote cardiovascular health in your workplace this month? Please tell us in the comments.
Jackie Sharp is the Senior Manager of Health & Well-Being for Sodexo North America responsible for guiding Sodexo’s commitment to programs, initiatives and partnerships that improve health and well-being for individuals, organizations and communities. Jackie is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian who specializes in corporate wellness, sports nutrition and physical fitness.
- 3 Strategies for Success Under Stress
- 6 Simple Steps to Stop Diabetes Before it Starts
- Get Up and Get Moving, if You Want to Move the Bottom Line
— Sodexo USA, Inc. (@sodexoUSA) February 16, 2016
Do you start your day with a run or workout? Good start, but it’s not enough. If you work in an office, you’re sitting yourself to death.
A systems-based approach to improving health considers all factors involved in caring for patients and the many factors that influence one’s quality of life. The integration of people, processes, policies, and organizations is critical to promoting better health at lower cost. For example, we can close the clinic-to-community gap by using an integrated systems approach that connects employers, healthcare providers, community-based organizations and family/community relationships.
Northwestern Dining knows the importance of giving back to our community. We are involved in many initiatives that aim to improve the quality of life of those around us, not only on the Northwestern University campus, but also within the Evanston and Chicagoland communities. One partnership that I work closely with is the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University.
Summer is the perfect time to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, and get active! Staying hydrated during fun activities and throughout the day is vital for optimal health. This is because water is an essential nutrient that is responsible for controlling body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, flushing the body of toxins, and controlling metabolism. The body is 50-65% water, and even just 2% loss can lead to very serious health concerns.
One day last fall, I was sitting in the Wellness Council meeting at our hospital when the reflection was read. It was titled “Mindful”. That got me thinking about Sodexo’s Mindful program and all the information I had read about it. The one piece that jumped out at me was the Mindful Mile. I’ve been a runner since I was in high school and have many marathons under my belt, so I really love to see people out walking, jogging, running….MOVING. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are or what shape you’re in …just that you are out there. At Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare- All Saints in Racine, Wisconsin (20 minutes south of Milwaukee), we have two different hospital campuses three miles apart.